I am completely biased when it comes to events put on by Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC). I joined the board last year and am in charge of their social media including Facebook and Instagram. But there is a reason that I, and everyone on the board, volunteer for this group: it’s all about the people. It’s not about making money or getting a lot of attention. It’s about creating great events that are inclusive of all running and walking athletes.
This was my second year running Up The Lazy River. Scheduled each year on Memorial Day, the race starts and ends in Mary S. Young park in West Linn. Most ORRC events are outside of Portland and use lesser-known course options. This one is a 10K through the park and primarily using neighborhood streets. The course changed a little bit this year due to permit requirements, but still had us going up and down lots of hills (including a particularly short but painful one around mile 2).
Starting and ending at the park means lots of space park and to spread out. The pavilion area is used for check-in, bag check, and the after party. I helped out that morning cutting dozens of bagels and donuts, then unbagging about 300 medals for all our finishers. We didn’t have medals last year so I was excited to see the shiny I would earn later that morning. Getting there early to help out meant I scored a great parking spot, which was useful as I kept changing my mind about what to wear (those rain clouds couldn’t make up their mind either until just before start time).
The race directors included nice touches to honor the day, and those who sacrificed their lives for us to be here, free. After the anthem was sung, participants were asked to take a moment in appreciation for those who were far away, and those who never returned. A flag was hung over the finish line arch, along with small flags on either side of the final stretch. Many runners had red, white, and blue as part of their race gear to celebrate in their own ways.
Starting at about mile 5, I began dreaming about what bagel I would have after finishing: Hawaiian bagel with strawberry jelly. There was a ton of food available, and raffle prizes for some lucky winners. After grabbing my bagel, I went back over to the finish line to cheer on some other runners before heading home. A great race to start off the day and the week.